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Best Tweets from #SEMrushchat: Ways Your Competitors Can Help Improve Your Content Strategy

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Best Tweets from #SEMrushchat: Ways Your Competitors Can Help Improve Your Content Strategy

Melissa Fach
Best Tweets from #SEMrushchat: Ways Your Competitors Can Help Improve Your Content Strategy

On June 12th, #SEMrushchat discussed ways your competitors can help improve your content strategy with guest Erika Heald. The discussion offered many insights on the mistakes businesses often make and the different critical factors they forget to examine. Our community offered excellent advice and strategies any agency, consultant, or business can use. 

Check out the answers our community offered below, and please share your thoughts in the comments. 

 You can retweet any of the tips below by clicking on the Twitter logo next to the quote. 


Q1. Before starting a competitor content analysis, how do you determine which kinds of information you should be looking for?

Lily Ray
Lily Ray
Look at the search results to determine how feasible it even is to rank, how we should structure our content, tone/sentiment analysis, what featured/rich snippets we can earn, and whether to focus on informational and/or transactional content.

Brian Kato
Brian Kato
I typically start off creating personas for my ideal customer. This helps me narrow down competitors that are both direct and indirect to my niche without getting caught up in analysis paralysis.

Pair Networks
Pair Networks
First, you have to know your customers. Where are they going for the information you don't provide? Which of your competitors provide that info? Second, you have to know where to find subject matter experts who can provide that information in a better way.

Marianne Sweeny
Marianne Sweeny
Where they rank for focus keyword phrases is an indication of their authority. Deconstruct the ranking page for topic representation, content relationships with internal and external contextually related pages. How does your page on same topic compare?

Erika Heald
Erika Heald
Before you can know what information to collect in a competitor content audit, you need to start by defining your goals. What is it that you hope to learn from your audit? What channel(s) are you looking to improve? What are some overlooked channels?

Express Writers
Express Writers
Set goals first. If you're going to be analyzing your competitors, figure out what you're hoping to gain from it beforehand so you know what to look for. This way, you'll have a clear focus and will be less likely to get distracted.

Q2. What are the essential steps to do a content audit of your competitors?

Nerissa Marbury
Nerissa Marbury
1) Gather competitor's content. 2) Categorize the content and utilize available data to gauge popularity. 3) Develop a competitor customer profile. 4) Find gaps in competitor content and competitor customer's wants. 5) Modify your strategy

Pair Networks
Pair Networks
1) Identify competitors to audit. 2) Identify the competitor's content channels with the most consistent engagement. 3) Analyze the problem most consistently solved by the content. 4) Analyze the technical aspects of the content.

ThinkSEM
ThinkSEM
Know which competitor(s) content you're assessing: website vs PPC landing pages; Instagram or Pinterest, etc. Know what you're auditing for: blog comments? Twitter RTs? SEO best practices? Essential to know you'll never know conversion data.

Kyle Whigham
Kyle Whigham
Identify which pieces of content are driving engagement, be it traffic (estimated of course), likes, shares, etc. Social signals send a clear message as far as what your shared audience finds valuable and interesting.

John Gibbings
John Gibbings
1) Isolate Competitors by Intent. 2) Run a Content Gap! -> Where do your competitors have visibility, where you don't? -> Are their sub-niches among competitors? -> What services of yours are at risk, with competitors edging in on your visibility?

Q3. Is there an instance where looking at your competitor’s content strategy in order to help yours wouldn’t work? If so, when? If not, why? 

Lauren Osselton
Lauren Osselton
It depends on context. I think looking at competitors content strategy never hurts, but you need to remain agile and adaptable. Remember your brand is unique and while ideas from competitors help, you ultimately want to create your own path and values

ThinkSEM
ThinkSEM
Of course! You can analyze all you want, but unless you've got the inside track you'll never know a competitor's CONVERSION data, which is ultimately what signals successful content. Without that, even the best analysis tools are just guessing.

Carlos Castro
Carlos Castro
It may be the case that your competitors are performing well but they are not taking the full audience needs into consideration and if you only rely on your competitor's analysis, you'll be missing a huge opportunity of improvement.

Bridget @ G2
Bridget @ G2
There's a time and a place to take risks with your content - differentiate and disrupt.

Webeo Global
Webeo Global
If your target audience is different, it will definitely have an impact. If you are posting the same content you will not see any benefits at all, prospects and clients will get bored reading the same thing.

Melissa Fach
Melissa Fach
One reason I didn't cheat on tests in high school was because I didn't trust that other people actually studied hard enough. I don't do that with content analysis either. I just gather insights.

Q4. What is the #1 thing that brands need to know to attract their target customers with content marketing?

Kyle Whigham
Kyle Whigham
Don't throw things at the wall and hope something sticks! Use audience insights (ie from social pages) to understand your audiences demographics, their wants, needs, interests, pain points, and their objectives in following you.

Stevie Howard
Stevie Howard
I am still always shocked at how often I have to say this... DEMOGRAPHICS. Seriously, the difference of 10 years or region can mean very different marketing strategies. Know ABOUT your audience!

Brian Kato
Brian Kato
Be genuine. People see through brands that only pitch their product or promote themselves. Take a vested interest in the needs of your audience.

Erika Heald
Erika Heald
A brand is never going to be able to attract their ideal customers with content marketing if they don't understand WHO their customers are, WHAT their unique challenges and needs are, and WHY customers choose them to meet those needs or not.

Itamar Blauer
Itamar Blauer
You have to know what your audience are searching for. There's no point creating content that is irrelevant to the customer's intent. User intent is key, people!

Lead Forensics
Lead Forensics
Content about common challenges that your customers face or issues within your industry. Create trustworthy content and advice for prospects and clients- all businesses need evergreen content.

Q5. Once you identify your competitors, what are some of the most important content related metrics you will be comparing across the board?

Thom Craver
Thom Craver
It better be whatever your money-making KPI is. Typical top KPIs, depending on your vertical are sales conversions, leadgen or ads revenue on pageviews. Of course, don't overlook assist visits along a long path to conversion.

Nerissa Marbury
Nerissa Marbury
Backlinks is one area as it will tell you where the competitor is getting mentions. This could spark ideas on where you can seek mentions too. Keywords is another. Knowing the terms attracting the desired audience and ranking.

Netvantage Marketing
Netvantage Marketing
Different types of content will have different metrics. If it's an educational piece, does it get engagement and shares? If it has a CTA does it lead to product clicks? Etc. Picking metrics depends on the content's goals.

John Gibbings
John Gibbings
With Google reducing SERP inclusion down to two pages, I feel that content cannibalization will become a real thing again. I was fine owning more real-estate to push down the other guys, but fairness has been redefined. Build for the Cornerstone.

Bridget @ G2
Bridget @ G2
Push past the vanity metrics for long-term success with content. For example, time on page is often forgotten but it's major.

Thank You to All of Those That Shared Their Insights

Each week, I participate in and watch the SEMrushchats looking for great minds and fantastic tweets that offer expert-level insights to our blog readers. Please keep sharing your strategies and opinions. Don't miss this week's SEMrushchat on Wednesday, June 19th at 11 AM ET/3 PM GMT; the topic will be "Social Media Best Practices for Small Businesses." 

c

Melissa Fach
SEMrush

SEMrush employee.

US Personality of the Year 2017 Winner, SEMrush Blog Editor, and Pubcon Community Manager. Herder of cats. Superman fan. Non-cook.
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Comments

2000
Newcomer

Either just recently joined or is too shy to say something.

Thanks for Sharing. This will surely help new bloggers as well as the existing one. Found it helpful as you covered everything.so helpful blog
Nick Samuel
Pro

Asks great questions and provides brilliant answers.

Nice to see you include Lily Ray in the round-up; I usually enjoy her comments/shares whenever they pop-up on my Twitter feed!

*goes to check if following*
Dan King
Helper

An experienced member who is always happy to help.

This is good. Bummed I missed the live chat for this one!

I see this a little bit in the responses, but I definitely think that a big piece of competitor research is differentiation. With many of my clients, we look at competitors and start to identify strategies we DON'T want to invest in. Seeing how others market themselves, sometimes makes it more clear on how we should market ourselves.

Good stuff! Thanks!
Melissa Fach
SEMrush

SEMrush employee.

Dan King
This is so true, Dan. I think this aspect is often missed in competitive research. Another thing people don't consider, which audiences have they missed? Often, people look to see which audiences were targeted, but who did they forget and what opening does that leave you?
Dan King
Helper

An experienced member who is always happy to help.

Melissa Fach
You, my friend, are very wise. I always love your insights! That is spot on! #fistbump
John Rampton
Pro

Asks great questions and provides brilliant answers.

I like to look to see how the competition is ranking on places like BuzzSumo in terms of the number of shares and reads. Then, on those that rank high, I can see which topics are trending and create my own awesome content from those topic ideas.

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